Mason Korea: Patriots’ Global Impact in Asia

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A global mindset continues to be essential to remaining competitive and innovative in business. Many people think a global mindset is about understanding another culture sufficiently that you avoid embarrassing social mistakes, or to create a rapport so you can better influence individuals, groups and organizations in other parts of the world. It’s not that understanding social customs isn’t a good thing, it just falls short of the evolving concept of a global mindset, and an appreciation of different approaches to business. The global mindset is about a genuine openness towards other cultures, other people, and embracing other ways of doing things.

Mason Korea Students
Mason Korea Class of 2018

Mason Korea, established in 2014 as part of the university’s initiative to expand and establish a global footprint, offers international students an opportunity to gain an undergraduate degree from George Mason University while studying abroad. Students spend three years on the Mason Korea Campus and one year on the Fairfax Campus in order to complete their degree requirements. Mason Korea offers students the same undergraduate degree that is offered in Fairfax, a BS in business with a concentration in accounting, business analytics, finance, financial planning and wealth management, management, management information systems, marketing, or operations and supply chain management.

“As an established international branch campus, Mason Korea enhances our global impact by the ability to produce a true George Mason University experience in Asia,” says Patrick Soleymani, associate dean of undergraduate programs at Mason’s School of Business. “It’s also an opportunity for Mason to learn, and to practice the global mindset.” Students on the Mason Korea Campus come from nations throughout Asia and from around the world. Students from the Fairfax Campus can take a semester to study abroad at Mason Korea, too.

“Being a full-time international student attending George Mason University Korea is a spectacular experience that continues to teach me many things inside and outside the classroom,” says Jacob Davis, management major studying in Korea.

The faculty on the Mason Korea Campus are a blend of local faculty from Korea, international faculty, and faculty from the Fairfax Campus that travel to Mason Korea to teach for a semester. Classes are generally small and held on the Mason Korea Campus. Students in South Korea also have the opportunity to take online classes virtually from the Fairfax Campus. Karen Kitching, associate professor of accounting and Accounting Advisory Council faculty fellow, lived in South Korea teaching students on the campus, and also has taught Mason Korea students in Fairfax too.

“The Mason Korea campus strengthens our global presence,” says Kitching. “We are well-known in South Korea now. Our Fairfax students have an opportunity to experience a new culture in a safe environment and without needing to master a second language -- yet having the opportunity to learn one. Our South Korean students are able to highlight on their resumes that they attended a large and well-respected U.S. university. They also greatly strengthen their English speaking skills during their years at both campuses – another huge boost to their international resumes.” 

For the School of Business, educating our own students in South Korea presents an opportunity to bring Mason’s innovative education to a wider reach of students. “It’s about impact and it’s about making the biggest and most positive difference on the world,” says School of Business Dean Maury Peiperl. “We have to look at how we work together with the business community to increase their capabilities, not only by talent, but also by lifelong learning, by research, by connections between our university and business. Our campus in South Korea helps us make these connections.”

Students at Mason Korea
Students at Mason Korea

“The School of Business was one of the first academic units to jump on the opportunity to offer our degree in Korea,” says Meggan Ford, assistant dean of undergraduate academic affairs. “Business is a popular field of study at any branch campus, and we were happy to start building a program in South Korea.”

Although the pandemic has made it difficult for students to commit to studying abroad, the Mason Korea Campus has had no interruption in classes, and students hope to study abroad again soon.

“Living fully immersed in South Korea allows for a complete cultural experience that cannot be replicated in the U.S. and will be invaluable upon entering the workforce as international experience is highly appealing in the world of business,” says Davis.